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CSW66 Statement: Climate Change Disproportionately Affects the Most Vulnerable – Women and Girls

Climate change requires a global multilateral, sustainable, and integrated approach to protect our planet and people. The global community needs to move forward in solidarity with women and girls. Without gender equality, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will remain a dream.

The 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women addressed the importance of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls so that they are included in the development of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. 

Together with other NGOs, we submitted a Written Statement highlighting the experience of our network due to climate change, and its wide range of adverse effects. Following climate change-related disasters, women and girls are often the first victims. They are burdened with most of the recovery work along with extreme loads of household work imposed by society.

Our network shared with us the experience of the people and communities with whom they work and live. We were able to write about the  frequent floods in India, such as those caused by Cyclone Amphan in 2020, and how it had significantly impacted women’s and girls’ living conditions, education, and economic opportunities. After the COVID-19 lockdown and the cyclone, the Sundarbans community saw their houses were flattened, most of their belongings washed away, and thousands of families in the region were forced to take shelter on the roadside. Despite these sufferings, women and girls remain active participants and lead the way in disaster recovery, restoring the environment, and fighting climate justice.

We reminded the UN that failing to incorporate women and girls into the global economy and decision-making processes not only heightens their vulnerability to climate change and any subsequent dangers in society, but the world is also missing out on the contribution of more than half the world’s population. Within our network, women and girls  are involved and have led tree plantings, biodiversity preservation projects, and environmental restoration initiatives, including oil spill clean-ups in Mauritius.

We ask all governments and civil society organizations to include women and girls, including minority, indigenous, and transgender, in local, national, and global decision-making processes regarding disaster management, prevention, and recovery policies. We ask that they ensure that all emergency planning, response, and recovery are gender-transformative and include gender-focused resources.

Read our Written Statement HERE.

We also endorsed the following statements.